Are we really teaching the Catholic Faith?

By Marlon De La Torre

North Texas Catholic

8/18/2014

Have you ever asked yourself why you believe in God? Or better yet, someone bluntly asks you why you’re Catholic? In both instances the genesis of these questions reflects a curiosity about faith and its relevance in daily life. From another perspective it’s an attempt to know and understand the meaning behind our belief in God. This line of questioning offers us a great opportunity to truthfully know and understand the “why” behind our belief in Jesus Christ and his Church.

When we speak about our belief in Christ, words alone do not sufficiently provide a complete answer. The reality is, the relationship between faith and good works or faith and reason must work hand in hand if we are to adequately present a genuine profession of our faith. It’s one thing to say “I believe,” as professed in the Creed — it’s another to actually live out the Creed.

Genuine motives
When someone asks you the motives behind your belief in Jesus Christ, what should resonate first and foremost is your visible, authentic living of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:17-20). A specific term we use to describe this way of living is referred to as the “Kerygma.” What the Kerygma means is an authentic and faithful living out of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ (The Creed). Further, it is a genuine application of our Catholic faith in daily life culminating in an active sacramental life centered on Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
A great biblical example of the motive of faith is found in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans where he says:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
— Romans 12:17-18

Another example is Christ teaching in the temple where He reminds his listeners:

My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me. Whoever chooses to do his will shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own.
— John 7:16-17

Credibility and Conversion
What makes our motives credible with respect to the faith is that they aim at assisting others before ourselves. Many can state the reasons to believe in God and provide volumes of evidence toward the existence of God and his authority. But what pierces the heart is that we not only believe, but actively and visibly live out that God has revealed Himself to us out of love. These genuine motives of faith add toward the credibility of our walk with Christ. Examples such as the miracles of Christ found in Sacred Scripture, the lives of the saints, the gift of the Church herself as the bride of Christ, provide ample motives of credibility. St. John reminds us how much God indeed loves us through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ on the Cross (John 3:16).

St. Paul tells us that in order to gain everything, we most lose everything in Christ (Philippians 3:8). This reflects a credible way to live our life in Him. The motive behind this way of living is a genuine intimacy with our Lord where we actively pray on a daily basis, culminating in our faithful participation at Mass. These actions in turn reflect our active witness of the Gospel e.g. an intention to actively engage the world in Christ.

The great evangelist G.K. Chesterton, who I recommend to anyone who desires to learn more about the relationship between God and Man, aptly sums up the credibility of our motives in this way:

The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.

Have you ever asked yourself why you believe in God? Or better yet, someone bluntly asks you why you’re Catholic? In both instances the genesis of these questions reflects a curiosity about faith and its relevance in daily life. From another perspective it’s an attempt to know and understand the meaning behind our belief in God. This line of questioning offers us a great opportunity to truthfully know and understand the “why” behind our belief in Jesus Christ and his Church.

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